Birds, babies’ bottoms and chubby little cheeks – all these, and more, compose Linda Gossett’s art exhibition “subconscious company,” an exhibition toward her Master of Arts in art from the University of Dallas. Until Jan. 29, the Upper Gallery will be filled with strange little creatures floating above the ground on golden pillow-like planes, flying overhead and being sucked into aluminum ducts. Gossett created dozens of these ceramic forms for the exhibition, all of which share similar cherub-like faces with chubby, rosy cheeks and hilarious expressions. These faces are attached to plump little bodies, with either bird-like wings or pig-like torsos. One is even pooping flowers.
“I think it’s just my personality,” Gossett said. “It’s like a welcome path. Plus, it’s just fun.”
With her undergraduate degree in graphic design and advertising, Gossett began seriously working with ceramics after taking two courses at a community college. She then worked on corporate commissions creating artwork based on the needs of a company. Attending UD for graduate school has allowed her to spend time developing her own artistic expression and content.
“A challenge for me is to not do what I’m used to doing,” Gossett said.
Using a variety of ceramic techniques, Gossett spent the summer of 2015 constantly exploring different forms to incorporate into her upcoming exhibition; however, she but did not quite find the right expression until the beginning of the fall 2015 semester. She made a mold of the face from a doll she had since she was young and began to attach the cute little porcelain copies of the face onto animalistic bodies.
“Once it started, they just started talking to me,” Gossett said.
In addition to new forms, Gossett also explored soda firing for her ceramics, resulting in the beautiful textures and layers seen on the surface of the pieces. However, this beauty came at the risk of relinquishing control of the final outcome of the pieces. Remnants left in the kiln from previous firings would affect the next pieces fired, leading to unexpected results such as the rosiness of the cheeks in the figures.
“That’s why you do it,” Gossett said. “Because if you already know what it’s going to be, what’s the point?”
In addition to the fun and risks of the work, Gossett’s exhibition also draws upon deeper themes. The show title, “subconscious company,” indicates that these little creatures represent parts of the mind.
“They represent all kinds of thoughts that go on in your head all at the same time,” Gossett said.
From the bird creatures representing fluttering thoughts to the ones going through the aluminum ducts representing thoughts making their way out of the mind, walking into “subconscious company” is like being submersed into a unique and eccentric psyche. What makes you laugh at first, leaves you a bit uncomfortable as the eye moves from the cute faces to the almost grotesque bodies of the creatures.
“They make people smile and scratch their heads and go ‘hmm’” said Gossett. “I want to nurture them, but they also reject me.”
This attraction and repulsion within Gossett’s work is both humorous and introspective, questioning what goes on within one’s own mind — both the light and the dark aspects — in a whimsical, engaging and elegant way.
Venture into the funny and fanciful psyche of subconscious company now through Jan. 29 in the Upper Gallery of the Painting/Printmaking Building, especially for the closing reception Jan. 29 from 5:30 p.m. – 8 p.m.